Described as the “one-stop tool for content discovery, news monitoring, and understanding audience interest trends”, Spike from NewsWhip was crowned the eir Spiders’ ultimate champion last year, taking away the Best Use of Data & Web Analytics Award as well as the coveted Grand Prix prize.
With big name clients such as MTV, The Huffington Post, Edelman and Mastercard, Spike from NewsWhip’s success story hasn’t slowed in any way since 2015. They have since grown from about 25 people last autumn to about 50 today.
“We’ve greatly improved our product range and doubled revenues also. We’ve also moved up our ambitions for the company – we see NewsWhip becoming a complete solution for anyone who wants to know what kind of content, authors and influencers win attention in any topic.”
Looking to the future, the Grand Prix winners have big ambitions. They have their sights set on revolutionising content; making it possible for people to find the stories that matter and to tell their stories to the audience that matters. Last year, their innovative product and clever use of data made them the unanimous judges’ choice, a win made even more special as the product team were there on the night to celebrate their work being publically recognised; “it meant a massive amount to them”.
When asked why it’s important to reward the creativity, innovation and achievements of the digital industry in Ireland, the guys at Spike say that the reality today in this country is that we have fantastic work being done by home-grown tech companies – and it’s most certainly worth recognising and celebrating that! Not to mention the boost a win does for your company’s morale; “Great night, and great booster for your team if you win”.
For any company looking to one day be an eir Spiders winner, they advise putting your best, most original work forward as the judges are looking for something stand-out, something completely innovative.
Their #TopTip for anyone just getting going?
“Putting yourself online is not the goal, it’s the first step. Think about how your customer is going to find you. Be ruthlessly realistic!”
The night of the eir Spider Awards is an occasion for celebration and good times – the Spike team says “we loved it – a real break from the hard work to celebrate as a team and dress up nicely too!”
I’m sure we’ll hear more from them in the coming months – check out their website here.
With less than two weeks until this year’s Awards, I wonder who’ll take home the eir Spiders of 2016?
A night of “gongs and good times” is what lies ahead at the 2016 eir Spider Awards and with only 2 weeks to go, we felt it was time to give you all a taste of what’s to come!
The eir Spiders are now celebrating their 21st year and undoubtedly are renowned as the Oscars of the digital industry. And although we take pride in recognising and rewarding the creativity and technical expertise of Ireland’s businesses and organisations, we also take pride in hosting one hell of a show!
Ireland has become known as the epicentre of innovation – something which has helped the Awards grow from strength to strength as the calibre of entries each year constantly improves. But let’s face it, our reputation as a digital hub is equal to that of our reputation as a gregarious and jovial nation. And so, it’s only fitting that we should throw a fete with as much creativity as our shortlistees.
First of all, we’re delighted to be back in the Double Tree – this hotel boasts the best location in the heart of the city centre and the right amount of grandeur to complement the Oscars of the Tech World.
Next, we’ve changed things up a bit this year. Rewarding your digital excellence is our dearest commitment here at Spiders HQ, but entertaining you is also our sincerest promise. So we’ve hired Pop Gods to keep the tunes going with 80s, 90s and Noughties hits – ensuring that music is pumping and the dancefloor rocking.
As always, we’re going to have a few games and gimmicks to keep you occupied! Not to mention some spot prizes which will be revealed on the night and goodie-bags to give you a small piece of the eir Spiders to take home!
Pop Gods, Prizes, Goodies and Games. That all sounds fantastic, right?
And indeed it is! We’re extremely excited to say the least! But the real star of the show (apart from our winners of course!) is our MC – the hostess with mostest – the courageous, the controversial, the colourful, the Queen of Ireland, Dr. Panti Bliss!!
As someone who needs no introduction, Panti is no stranger to the stage. She was the previous resident host of the annual Alternative Miss Ireland pageant, as well as the predominant voice in the Same Sex Marriage Referendum campaign. Throw in sold-out shows, a memoir, a career spanning decades and a bar that lights up Capel Street – and you’ve got the perfect addition to the creative genius that lies behind the campaigns and projects seen throughout all the eir Spider categories.
As an activist and entertainer, Panti is the perfect blend of eloquence and extravagance. We’re sure she will make the eir Spiders’ 21st birthday the most memorable to date.
With over eighty individual companies and organisations on the eir Spiders shortlist, let’s take a look at who they are and what the judges had to say!
As mentioned in our last blog post, our judges discussed and deliberated at eir HQ in early November. From 400 entries to more than 80 shortlistees, 17 winners were eventually chosen – with a unanimous selection of the Grand Prix winner.
As always, the 2016 Spiders shortlist is home to household names, new kids on the block and some old favourites with a modern twist. We’ll mention no names but you can take a look for yourself here – and let us know who think should be crowned the champions of the 2016 eir Spiders on Twitter @eirSpiders.
Our three new categories; Best in Blogging, Best in UX and Best Campaign, went down a treat – receiving close to 100 entries between them!!
When speaking of this year’s awards, the judges were taken aback by both the quantity and quality of entries, remarking on the “beautifully put together” sites, the “very exciting, creative and interactive campaigns” and “holistic experiences”. Across all categories, our judges agreed that the winners and indeed the shortlistees all displayed powerful potential for future growth, strong performances and a penchant for innovation.
All the winners, including the Grand Prix winner and our 2016 Internet Hero, will be announced Wednesday November 30th… and we’re excited to say the least at who will take home the golden trophies as well the glory of being the whizz-kids of the web.
There’ll be a few shocks and surprises on the night no doubt as the digital kings of Ireland descend upon the Double Tree for the Oscars of their industry.
Stay tuned for more details on who will be hosting the night… and who will take home this year’s Internet Hero Award.
Launched last Summer, the 21st eir Spider Awards were off to a busy start. Ahead of the launch, we caught up with all our judges, gathered some feedback on how we could improve on last year’s Awards, and welcomed some new judges to the panel; Ian Bergin of congeto.io, Alan Devlin of eDot Invest and Ben English of Dublin Tech Summit.
Three new categories were introduced; Best in Blogging, Best in User Experience and Best Campaign – reflective of the rapidly changing digital trends in Ireland and further afield today. Considering the ubiquity of bloggers across the Emerald Isle, it was only fitting that we created space within our categories for these digital gurus. Similarly, the adoption of UX is now considered a key success factor and best practice in digital media and marketing, so we decided to recognise businesses that are investing in this area. Totalling 17 categories, not counting our coveted Grand Prix and Internet Hero Awards, we were ready to launch the 2016 eir Spiders!
As the sun split the stones on Hanover Quay, we gathered judges, past winners and sponsors for a special Spider-themed photo-shoot with some help from our friends at Made in Hollywood.
Fast forward to October and we had received over 400 entries across our 17 categories; Best in B2B proved to be the most popular category, followed closely by newcomer Best in UX and Best in Charity and Not-for-Profit.
Following 2 weeks of judging, and four hours of judges’ discussions and deliberations (not to mention 5 months, 17 categories, 20 judges and 400 entries later), we managed to make the shortlist of over 70 companies. From Summer to the shortlist, these 70 were the stand-out entries, those who best showcased their digital excellence and technical skills.
Stay tuned for our next post – more details on our shortlisted companies and special MC to follow!
It was an early start Friday morning! But I suppose if we were in for a day of learning then it was only suitable to be reminded of the days our mums had to drag us out of bed for school. Not to mention, the eir Spiders team were excited to get another #SpidersWorkshop underway. So we got up and got to eir HQ just before 7am – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
You can check out all the photos here!
The day’s line-up was nothing short of brilliant. We had some of the industry’s leading digital marketing experts on offer – and we have to say their presentations were engaging, interesting, interactive (any volunteers for Ross?) and best of all, refreshing (yes Louis we are talking to you!)
Once we all had some (several cups of) coffee and brekkie, guests, speakers and the Spiders team were ready to kick-off just before 9am – again, an early morning reminiscent of those sleepy school mornings.
Firstly, we had Colin Meagle, the master moderator. We have to commend Colin’s punctuality – he had just hosted his own (hugely successful) event the night before, the inaugural Continuum Labs event – and he still managed to bring an informative and enthusiastic air to the workshop! Thanks Colin J
Iris Daly gave the first presentation of the day; an eir Business case study which detailed the transformation of the eir website, resulting in increased e-commerce sales. Iris’s step-by-step outline of how their website was optimised was clear, concise and easily adaptable by SMEs looking to ensure that their customers can easily navigate their site, staying on course to the check-out.
Next up was Vroom Digital’s Shane Curtin and The Magnificent 7. No, no, not Chris Pratt, Denzel and the cast of the latest Western. BUT, The Magnificent 7 Digital Nuggets that can help SMEs get themselves noticed online!
It may seem like 7 simple steps to success, but Shane was right! And, oftentimes businesses overlook the simplest of solutions. We’ve got to go mobile, we’ve got to get our businesses up the ranks of a Google search, we’ve got to invest, and we’ve got to get talking, not selling. AND, we have got to get using the FREE tools that are out there for all us to use.
It’s not warfare but we need tactics!
If we want to double our business, double our customer base or even double website conversions, we don’t have to double our workload. Instead, we need to devise a strategy that will lead us down the conversion funnel like it’s leading us into battle.
Make it Simple,
Actionable and Measurable.
What’s a digital marketing workshop without the director of the Digital Marketing Institute? That’s right; Anthony Quigley was in house giving us a few lessons on how SMEs can Drive Business through Content Marketing.
If Content is King, then we were given the royal treatment as Anthony narrated his way through the Digital Marketing Institute’s journey – from humble beginnings to possible world domination!
Create. Share. Engage. The ultimate guidebook in getting your message heard. With an incredibly impressive amount of growth since 2008 (business doubling year-on-year!), we think it would be wise to heed the advice of this digital guru.
The next pundit into the arena was Ross O’Dwyer. A man with no slides is no less a man as Ross aptly displayed – choosing to give us an interactive presentation with the kind help of some familiar (slightly hesitant) looking volunteers!
The Pundit Arena co-founder has transformed how sports fans can contribute to sports journalism. It’s arguably one of the most active and engaging sports news sites out there today! Not one to stick to tradition, Ross opted to give his two volunteers a crash course in realising your business objectives and visualising how to get there.
Last but certainly not least, Louis Grenier of Slices Consulting, served up his Plat du Jour. An honest and clear-cut depiction of how businesses should talk to their audiences with the necessary proclamation of Death to Marketing BS!
At Slices, they have taken a refreshing approach to marketing by taking time out to talk to their customers and to treat their customers well. And they, and their clients, have witnessed some great results by constantly keeping their long-term goal in focus – To create customers and make them come back.
YES it is that easy! In the words of Louis:
Easy = True
Authenticity = Trust
So be yourself, be kind and be successful!
So, we all came away with new ideas, new knowledge and new contacts! Throw in a couple of Q&A panel discussions, more coffee and free notebooks, and I think we can safely say it was a successful day!
The eir Spiders has always sourced and celebrated Ireland’s Best in Tech; the people and companies behind the most creative, engaging and compelling campaigns, projects and websites. And, our #SpidersWorkshop speakers have clearly kept this tradition alive!
We really can’t thank them enough for their time, their insights and expertise.
In case you missed their presentations on the day, you can see them all here.Read more
Who are you?
First-time eir Spiders judge. eBusiness consultant. Digital media master. eDot Invest entrepreneur. All round online genius.
What do you do?
“I have been in the Industry for 20 years.”
As you can see from our description of Alan above, he is no stranger to the digital space. As commercial director of Webfactory, he built the largest digital agency in Ireland which he exited in 2015 to found eDot Invest (www.edotinvest.com), a new digital industry VC/Incubator which has access to funds of over 20 million euro. Basically, he is an award-winning, digital investor and entrepreneur.
Where did you first hear of the eir Spiders?
“The Spiders have always been the focal point of digital in Ireland. When I ran Webfactory we were delighted to win the Best Agency award 5 times.”
It’s Alan’s first year as a member of the judging panel but he is no stranger to the Spiders scene. As a previous entrant and 5 time award winner, Alan’s contribution to this year’s judging process is paramount. He provides experience, expertise and interest from both an entrant and judging perspective. We’re excited to have him on board!
What sets the Spiders apart from other industry awards?
“It’s bigger, more respected and an institution in the industry.”
Well, we think so too.
Why are they important?
“It can be very difficult for clients to distinguish between one service provider or product for another. It really helps to promote rising stars in the industry and also reward long standing operators for their excellence relative to competitors.”
Alan is well aware of the benefits these kinds of award programmes can bring to any company working within the highly competitive digital world. The Spiders put the spotlight on those who deserve it and sing the praises of those who succeed. This recognition can often motivate the winners and competitors to continue with the work that is so vital to the Irish tech space. A reward can go a long way in lifting morale and inspiring a bit of healthy competition.
What categories catch your attention?
“Large agency, small agency and start-up. I know these categories very well I am passionate about them and I think it’s important to have a good knowledge of the categories you are judging.”
We think Alan has all the knowledge needed to judge any one of these categories!
“The Spiders provide a very high calibre independent 3rd party opinion of the creativity and innovation delivered in a given year.”
High calibre 3rd party opinion did you say? Take a look at Alan’s CV we say!
What advice do you have for entrants looking to amaze the judges?
“It is quality over quantity. Answer the category as directed. I personally like to see the entrant produce a 4 minute, or less, video telling me why they should win.”
(Hint: Alan did actually submit a 4 minute video and claims it worked for him in winning Agency of the Year. Just saying…)
What tips do you have for anyone just starting out online?
*Listen and Learn*
“Know your market.”
Spend time getting to know your market and your market will want to get to know you.
“Have a good understanding of how and who is going to pay for your tech. Think bigger than Ireland especially if you are looking for investment.”
Funding and finance may not come from your friends so think big to win big.
“If you are the tech guy, find a strong commercial business partner. If you are the commercial guy find a strong tech business partner. It’s rare to find both qualities in one person.”
A match made in heaven makes for a market leader.
“Whatever you create, listen to your customer and adapt to what they want immediately.”
Creating with a customer-centric approach will ensure that your product always stays at the forefront of consumer’s minds.
“Watch your costs, watch your costs, watch your costs.”
Of course, keeping an eye on the pennies will help protect your future.
Well said, Alan!
We’re really excited to have Alan on board for this year’s eir Spiders! Stay tuned for more news and updates on all things eir SpidersRead more
Cool, calm, clear and concise are the tips given by our latest judge to feature in the eir Spiders blog. Spoken like a true tutor, Robert Farrell details the specifics of what the judges are looking for and how your websites, platforms, services and campaigns can wow them. Listen and learn!
With degrees and extensive experience of marketing and strategic management, Robert also holds a passion for education and how technology is transforming the ways we learn and how it’s done. Robert is the digital marketing tutor with the Digital Marketing Institute and supports students in over 70 countries worldwide. His advice is sure to be heeded – even here at Spiders HQ we are working with Robert to bring a digital dimension to our Spiders workshops with a webinar series (stay tuned for more!).
Heralding the Best in eLearning and Education as his favourite category, Robert’s passion for education does not come without pragmatism. He acknowledges the value of this category as it allows for the spotlight to be put on a topic that is seldom given the limelight outside of the academic and training sectors. “The eir Spiders brings eLearning into the view of the wider industry and adds its stamp of legitimacy to it.” This importance of this category lies in the fact that it is all about training – education is the means by which our employees and employers can learn the new skills required by the demands of the digitally-dominated world. Although Ireland lags behind our American counterparts in terms of how we can utilise technology to improve our learning and training, i.e. eLearning, Robert is confident than we can catch up, and the Spiders is a great way of showcasing some of the most impressive examples of eLearning out there.
A desire to keep up to date with best practice in industry, build his professional connections and be part of something bigger is what attracted Robert to the eir Spiders judging panel. And although he has only been on board for two years now, he has already had the opportunity to witness the yearly improvements in entries and the ever-growing calibre of quality and diverse campaigns, not to mention a web of contacts whom he can call upon when required. A place on the judging panel means exclusive access to the longest-running tech and digital awards programme in the country. “I have been given a behind-the-scenes view into some of Ireland’s most successful campaigns and how our most successful brands and agencies work.”
It’s not all about the big players though, admits Robert. The beauty of the Spiders lies in the fact that it is the quality of the campaigns that are being judged, not the quantity earned by their respective creators. Companies big and small across a wide range of categories are on a level playing field. Here at Spider HQ, we are all about celebrating digital excellence whatever the size of the sector or the service. We believe that by recognising and rewarding the tech and digital efforts of our country’s organisations, we are encouraging them to continue their work and providing the motivation to ensure that the digital landscape of Ireland thrives even further.
When we talk about size, Robert explains how it is even more prevalent to praise the efforts of those who have done it themselves without huge budgets or agency support. “These organisations or start-ups may be struggling with daily operations while trying to define their long term plan, events like this can motivate them to keep going and build their credibility in markets.”
And praise is exactly what is given on the night – the Spiders represent a chance to recognise and reward digital excellence but they are also an opportunity to bring together a host of industry professionals, newcomers and veterans. They are a chance to reflect on the contributions brought to our lives by their tech-savvy creators. It is always a guaranteed goodtime in which the winners and non-winners alike share in the success.
And the last lesson of this blog post takes the form of some wise words from Robert for any of you starting out online and looking to the Spiders for motivation and inspiration.
Get your entries in and good luck!
Next in our blog series, we speak to the computer whizz-kid of the panel, Kevin Cassidy. With an impressive array of big companies and even bigger roles on his CV, having Kevin on the eir Spiders team is most certainly an advantage. He is an expert in all things tech, digital and marketing. Now working with Sage as the Senior Marketing Automation Manager and one of the founders of the wonderful social enterprise 100minds.org, we are extremely grateful that he still manages to find some time for the Spiders!
Recognising that the eir Spiders is the longest running web awards in the country; Kevin has witnessed the progression of the awards and the constant growth in entries and quality campaigns. “There are no low-end entries anymore. It’s a matter of finding the cream of the crop – which isn’t always easy to do.” Of course, the ever-growing calibre of entries makes the job of judging a little difficult, but only adds to the intrigue that forms part of an eir Spiders panel position.
When we consider the longevity of the Awards, it is interesting to see how tech trends slowly become integrated into the categories. What happens in the digital world is reflected by the Spiders. Noting this, Kevin details how mobile has become a major factor. “The biggest changes has been the move towards mobile-first websites as well as mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.” Indeed, we can probably accredit the success and strength of the Awards to the fact that “it changes each year to stay fresh and relevant”.
At the eir Spiders HQ, we always try to stay ahead of the curve; attempting to stay as creative as our contestants is priority numero uno. But it isn’t just the innovation and achievements of our entrants which pushes us to make the eir Spider Awards the best in the industry. We believe that the evolution of the programme also helps to encourage Irish organisations to push themselves to be the best they can be. Kevin knows this all too well; rewarding the work being done in the tech and digital fields has a knock-on effect with positive outcomes that benefit us all. “This helps to build Ireland’s reputation bringing in a diverse workforce, FDI and of course, boosting our tourism”.
As one of the founders of the social enterprise 100minds.org, it is clear that Kevin is concerned with the charitable side of things. He declares his passion for the Best in Charity and Not-for-Profit category; admitting his oftentimes amazement at what these charities can produce with a bit of creativity and passion. The acknowledgement and awareness of these organisations and their campaigns through this particular Spiders category is evidence of the efforts of those who do not create for cash purposes only.
Kevin echoes the majority of eir Spiders attendees in saying that the night itself is a fantastic event. “Everybody who has worked really hard gets to share in their achievements together.” But for those of you looking to get yourself a spot on the shortlist, Kevin advises getting the basics of your campaign, your entry and your work right. “There’s no point in building something amazing if it’s sitting on shoddy foundations!”
And for those of you who may only be starting out and not quite yet ready for the Spiders, Kevin passes on some wise words sure to comfort any amateur worries. By realising that there are no limits to what can be achieved, he doesn’t underestimate the potential success of even the smallest companies. “The smallest companies with the smallest budgets can, with some creativity and drive, compete in any market with any competitor.”
CEO of the Irish Internet Association, Joan Mulvihill is next to feature in our eir Spiders blog series. A real internet aficionado, Joan has taken an amiable “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach to the eir Spider Awards. Every October, the IIA host their own awards programme, the DOT IE Net Visionary Awards. Thus, Joan likes to exhibit the essence of co-opetition in practice which lies at the core of the community spirit foundation of the IIA’s not-for-profit awards programme. If the eir Spiders are said to be the Oscars of the tech and industry awards, then I believe we can agree that the DOT IE Net Visionaries are the Golden Globes.
However, Joan’s IIA duties prevent her from taking a place on the judging panel of her awards. But the eir Spiders offer her an opportunity to be part of the judging process in such a way that allows her to support the joint mission of making Ireland a leading web-enabled economy. In addition to this, her involvement in the eir Spider Awards has exposed and introduced Joan to some great emerging businesses and even better people.
Joan has been part of the ride for quite some time now and as such has witnessed the evolution and continual improvement of the eir Spiders. She credits the eir Spiders team with consistently responding to judges’ feedback; allowing the panel’s voices to be heard so that the awards go from strength to strength each year. Just as the programme improves, so too does the impressive, ever-growing calibre of entries. While recognising the achievements of some of Ireland’s leading agencies, the programme also leaves the door open for smaller and younger companies to pave the way for excellence in creativity and innovation within the tech and digital industry. Indeed, the beauty of the Awards lies in equality amongst entries as they are judged on merit of the campaigns, not the magnitude of the creators.
When asked about the purpose and importance of the eir Spiders, Joan is quick to highlight the reputational and financial value which making the shortlist or even some Spider silverware can add to a business. Undoubtedly, her experience in the digital world makes her a key contributor on our judging panel but don’t be fooled by her jovial manner – she admits her toughness when it comes to judging business models and market traction.
In terms of the categories, Joan declares her passion for the start-up category. “I like the start-up category because if I had money I would be a brilliant Dragon!” But speaking to all category entrants, she advises you to think about the question and get stuck in on what the judges are really looking for. She explains that the longest submission is not the best submission so get to the key points on the what, why and how of your campaign and provide the evidence.
Joan oozes excitement when it comes to the eir Spiders judging process and perhaps even more so when it comes to the night in question; “love, love, love” is how she describes the eir Spider Awards ceremony. “You get dressed up, go out with your friends and have a great party. Win or lose, everyone has a great time,” she beams. Joan’s excitement is matched by our enthusiasm to have her part of the eir Spiders team!
This seasoned Spiders supporter offers some words of advice to new businesses starting out online by encouraging them to have a great idea, one which is tried and tested, and to also have a plan of attack. By getting some great people behind you, you will not only have a solid support but a network on which you can count to keep you on the right path. “Working 22 hours a day on it, on a diet of coffee, beer and pizza does not make you an entrepreneur. Eat well, sleep well and exercise – it will help to keep a clear head.” And that is exactly what will be needed when things are difficult. All too often newcomers make the mistake of envisioning entrepreneurship as an extended gap-year. But its business, and that’s the bottom-line.Read more
The first judge to feature in the eir Spiders blog series is TV pioneer Philippe Brodeur. Philippe brings energy, passion and expertise in abundance to our judging panel. As Founder and CEO of Hot Air Media and Overcast; he is a perfect fit for spotting the tech talent amongst the entries each year.
Heralding the eir Spiders as the Oscars of the Irish tech and digital industry, Philippe recognises the part the Awards programme has played in promoting and nurturing a vision for Ireland as a global tech and digital leader. As our nation garners a reputation for outstanding achievement in the technological and digital fields, Philippe welcomes the variety of entries from ‘Mom & Pop’ businesses to multinationals, further validating Ireland as an epicentre of innovation.
When asked about the purpose and importance of the Awards in recognising and rewarding creativity, innovation and tech achievements in Ireland, Philippe explains how it is vital to highlight how our tech and digital space has grown in spite of our small market size. “Having the vision to look beyond our shores is part of our DNA and we need to do all we can to nurture that vision”, he says.
When we cast our attention to the categories, Philippe admits his passion for what he views as one of the most contested categories; Best in News, Publishing and Entertainment. The quality of entries here is paramount with past winners showing skills which would top the lists in any country in the world.
In what Philippe delightfully describes as a night of “geeks, grog and good times”, the eir Spiders is a benchmark for tech and digital accomplishment and something sought after for most businesses starting out online. “If you are serious, then hold on tight cause it’s a hell of a ride!” he cautions. And for those of you hoping to amaze the judges this year, Philippe advises your entry to demonstrate innovation, growth, simplicity and clarity; make it compelling to reward!
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